Rethinking the energy structure on which our industrial economies work is not an easy task, especially when the skills needed on the market are not the one that would help us to transition towards a circular economy. As a result the shortage of skilled labour risk to compromise our ability to tackle future energy challenges. In order to lessen the impact of human activity on the environment, industry and academia need to join efforts and establish long-term partnership to develop up-to-date academic curricula and knowledge transfer. This is the conclusion reached at the roundtable on “Skills for new energy materials” organised by the European Sustainable Energy Innovation Alliance (eseia) at the EuroNanoForum 2017, held in Malta on June 23rd.
Networking Wall, EuroNanoForum 2017 on 21-23 June, La Valletta, Malta
The discussion, moderated by eseia´s Director Brigitte Hasewend, saw the involvement of several European companies, whose role is central in innovating smart energy materials in the EU, namely Centro Ricerche Fiat (Italy), Umicore (Belgium), Arkema (France), SINTEF (Norway), IREC (Spain), Fraunhofer ISC (Germany). The participants identified existing gaps in knowledge and capabilities between industry and universities as one of the main issues to tackle to reduce Europe´s carbon footprint. Therefore, they agreed to foster the creation of a comprehensive network that would include the whole value chain of experts in new energy materials: from industry stakeholders to tertiary education institutions, research centres and professional associations.
eseia stressed the adoption of an holistic view on technology systems, and peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge to overcome the current gaps. The approach was welcomed and supported by the participants, who agreed that further cooperative efforts should be made to strengthen the link between industry and academia and help experts to spot new business opportunities.
The roundtable was organised in collaboration with the European Commission within the NAMEC Workshop on “Nanotechnology & advanced materials for the Energy Union – Going circular”. The Workshop, chaired by Simon Perraud, Vice president for European affairs of CEA Liten, focused on clean energy materials and their role in the development of a European circular economy.
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eseia Project Manager